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About NTIA

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policies.  In this role, NTIA frequently works with other Executive Branch agencies to develop and present the Administration's position on these issues. Since its creation in 1978, NTIA has been at the cutting edge of critical issues.  In addition to representing the Executive Branch in both domestic and international telecommunications and information policy activities, NTIA also manages the Federal use of spectrum; performs cutting-edge telecommunications research and engineering, including resolving technical telecommunications issues for the Federal government and private sector; and administers infrastructure and public telecommunications facilities grants.

The Office of Spectrum Management (OSM) formulates and establishes plans and policies that ensure the effective, efficient, and equitable use of the spectrum both nationally and internationally. Through the development of long range spectrum plans, the OSM is prepared to address future Federal government spectrum requirements, including public safety operations and the coordination and registration of Federal government satellite networks. The OSM also satisfies the frequency assignment needs of the Federal agencies and provides spectrum certification for new Federal agency radio communication systems.

The Office of Policy Analysis and Development (OPAD) is the domestic policy division of the NTIA. OPAD supports NTIA's role as principal adviser to the Executive Branch and the Secretary of Commerce on telecommunications and information policies by conducting research and analysis and preparing policy recommendations. The domestic policy office generates policies that promote innovation, competition, and economic growth for the benefit of American businesses and consumers.

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) develops and implements policies to enhance U.S. companies' ability to compete globally in the information technology and communications (ICT) sectors. In consultation with other U.S. agencies and the U.S. private sector, OIA participates in international and regional fora to promote policies that open ICT markets and encourage competition.

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is the research and engineering laboratory of the NTIA. ITS provides technical support to NTIA in advancing telecommunications and information infrastructure development, enhancing domestic competition, improving U.S. telecommunications trade opportunities, and promoting more efficient and effective use of the radio spectrum. ITS also serves as a principal Federal resource for investigating the telecommunications challenges of other Federal agencies, state and local governments, private corporations and associations, and international organizations.

The Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications (OTIA) assists public and non-profit entities in effectively using telecommunications and information technologies to better provide public services and advance other national goals. In addition, the office is administering programs that are helping the nation's transition to digital television. 

  • The U.S. Congress has appropriated $4.7 billion to establish a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for awards to eligible entities to develop and expand broadband services to unserved and underserved areas and improve access to broadband by public safety agencies. Of these funds, $250 million will be available for innovative programs that encourage sustainable adoption of broadband services; at least $200 million will be available to upgrade technology and capacity at public computing centers, including community colleges and public libraries; $10 million will be a transfer to the Office of Inspector General for the purposes of BTOP audits and oversight. Up to $350 million of the BTOP funding is designated for the development and maintenance of statewide broadband inventory maps.
  • The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) is a competitive grant program that helps public broadcasting stations, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and nonprofit organizations construct facilities to bring educational and cultural programs using broadcast and nonbroadcast telecommunications. Under PTFP's authority, funds also support the Pan-Pacific Educational and Cultural Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) which provides satellite-delivered education, medical, and environmental emergency telecommunications to many small-island nations and territories in the Pacific Ocean region.
  • The Digital TV Converter Box Coupon Program was authorized in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005. Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. Up to $1.5 billion will be available in funding.
  • The Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant Program assists state, local and federal first responders better communicate during a natural or man-made disaster. NTIA, in consultation with DHS, shall make payments not to exceed $1 billion in the aggregate through fiscal year 2010 to carry out the PSIC program.
  • The Low Power Television and Translator Assistance Programs include the Low-Power TV and Translator Digital-to-Analog Conversion (Conversion) Program and the Low-Power TV and Translator Upgrade (Upgrade) Program. The Conversion Program will provide funds to assist low-power TV broadcast stations, Class A television stations, television translator stations, and television booster stations ("low-power facilities") to broadcast in analog after the June 12, 2009 digital conversion deadline for full power television stations. The Upgrade Program will reimburse the costs to upgrade these types of facilities in rural communities to digital transmission.
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National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
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